Almost two years back in 2019, Google has released two of its much-awaited Pixel models called Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. This lineup was anticipated due to its new overall design, display, camera setup, Android 10, and more. Now, if you’re one of the Google Pixel 4/4 XL users and want to flash any custom file on it, you can follow this Detailed Guide to Unlock Bootloader on Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL.
The limitless customization on the Android operating system has come so far from what it was even a couple of years ago. Thanks to Android’s open-source nature and the hard work of developers to build third-party flashable files like custom firmware, mods, root, custom recovery, etc. All of these have made the Android operating system more customizable and easy to use than before.
Meanwhile, mobile device users have also matured enough to understand what’s best for their mood or usage in their daily life. So, without using the same old-school stock UI and its limited stock ROM features, Android users are now mostly interested to flash custom firmware (aftermarket) file or mod file or root access or custom recovery, etc to get an ultimate user experience.
Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL: Overview
Before heading over to the bootloader overview and steps to bootloader unlocking, let’s take a quick look at the device overview below.
Google Pixel 4 has a 5.7-inches P-OLED 1080×2280 pixels resolution display featuring a 90Hz refresh rate and HDR mode. It came with Android 10 out of the box and currently running on Android 11 officially. The device is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, Adreno 640 GPU, 6GB RAM, 64GB/128GB internal storage, etc.
It packs a dual 12.2MP (wide, f/1.7) + 16MP (telephoto, f/2.4) lens featuring dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 2x optical zoom, Dual-LED flash, Pixel Shift, Auto-HDR, Panorama, etc. While the handset has a dual 8MP (wide, f/2.0) selfie camera with TOF 3D sensor, Auto-HDR, etc. It sports a 2,800mAh battery, 18W fast charging, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5, GPS, GLONASS, NFC, Type-C port, all major sensors, etc.
Google Pixel 4 XL has a bigger 6.3-inches P-OLED 1440×3040 pixels resolution display featuring a 90Hz refresh rate, HDR, etc. It came with Android 10 preloaded and runs on Android 11 right now. The handset is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, Adreno 640 GPU, 6GB RAM, 64GB/128GB of internal storage, etc.
It sports a dual rear camera setup that consists of 12.2MP (wide, f/1.7) + 16MP (telephoto, f/2.4) lens dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 2x optical zoom, Dual-LED flash, Auto-HDR, Panorama, etc. The selfie camera has an 8MP dual setup (wide, f/2.0) lens along with TOF 3D sensor, Auto-HDR mode, etc. It packs a 3,700mAh battery, 18W fast charging, Type-C, other necessary connectivity options, and sensors.
What is Bootloader Unlocking?
A Bootloader is also known as a Boot Manager for Android devices that load up the operating system into the working memory and ensures that whether your device is booting into the system properly or not.
For example, whenever you power on or restart your mobile device, you can see a boot screen or logo at first, and then the device boots into the system completely. It’s sort of a code that’s locked by the device manufacturer and comes with a locked bootloader out of the box.
That means you can’t normally flash any third-party firmware or boot file in a locked bootloader until you unlock it. Manufacturers don’t want the user to customize their devices from the system level because it can mess up system files, user data, voids device warranty, trigger privacy issues, etc.
Therefore, you’ll need to unlock the device bootloader first in order to make your handset eligible to successfully install the customization files. Once you’re done with it, you can easily flash the third-party firmware file, mod files, tweak system components, enable root access, install a custom recovery, etc.
Please Note: Not all Android device manufacturers officially recommend or provide methods to unlock the stock bootloader and Google is one of them. So, unlocking the bootloader and flashing custom files on your Pixel devices will fully depend on you. It basically voids the device manufacturer warranty (if any).
Detailed Guide to Unlock Bootloader on Google Pixel 4 and 4 XL
Before you proceed to the following guide, we’ll highly recommend you go through all the requirements and download links properly.
Keep in mind that this guide is only applicable for Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL models. Now, check out other pre-requirements too.
1. Charge Your Device
To avoid the occasional shutdown or any power-related issues, we’ll recommend you charging your Pixel 4/4 XL handset properly before unlocking the bootloader. 50% or more charge should be enough.
2. Take a Full Backup
It’s worth mentioning that unlocking the device bootloader will simply wipe out all of your device data like documents, media files, installed apps, or games. So, take a full data backup by following this link that’s necessary for you and then you can proceed.
In some cases, several banking apps or other applications like Google Pay and Pokemon Go may not work properly on a bootloader unlocked device due to security reasons.
3. Requires a PC and USB Cable
In order to unlock the device bootloader using the ADB Fastboot tool, you’ll need a Windows computer and a USB data cable to connect your Pixel device.
4. Download Necessary Files
There are two necessary files mentioned below that you should download and install on your computer to unlock the device bootloader easily. Make sure to install both on your PC and then you can follow the main guide below.
Disclaimer: Flashing custom files or modifying your device by unlocking the bootloader may void the manufacturer’s warranty as well as can brick your handset easily. You should know what you’re doing. GetDroidTips will not be held responsible for any kind of issue that you may face while/after following this guide. Do this at your own risk.
Bootloader Unlocking Method:
- First of all, download and install the Android USB Drivers.
- Second, download and extract the ADB & Fastboot file in the C:/ drive on your PC.
- Third, make sure to take a full backup of your device data.
- Now, go to the device Settings menu > Tap on System > Go to About Phone.
- Here tap on Build number continuously seven times and you’ll see the ‘You are now a Developer’ message on the bottom screen.
- Go back to System > Tap on Advanced > Tap on Developer Options.
- Enable the Developer Options toggle > Enable both the USB debugging and OEM unlocking toggle.
- Go to the ADB folder where you’ve extracted the ADB & Fastboot file previously.
- Hold the Shift key + Right Mouse click anywhere inside the folder to open the command window / PowerShell window.
- Now, switch off your Google Pixel 4/4 XL device completely.
- Then long-press the Volume Down + Power button together for a few seconds until you see the next screen.
- Release both buttons and use the Volume Down button only to navigate to the options.
- So, navigate to ‘Restart Bootloader’ or highlight it.
- Now, press the Power button to select it or confirm it.
- Your Google Pixel 4/4 XL device will boot into the Bootloader Mode now.
- Once done, simply connect your handset with your computer using the USB data cable.
- Type the following command in the command prompt window and hit Enter to check whether your device is connected in ADB or not:
- If properly connected, it’ll show you a set of a device ID.
- It may also prompt you to Allow USB Debugging. Just tap on the ‘Always allow on this computer’ checkbox and tap on OK.
- As you’ve already entered your device into the Bootloader Mode, just make sure to execute the command below to recheck it:
- If connected in bootloader mode, then you’ll see the ID. However, if not connected, then you can execute the following command to do so:
adb reboot bootloader
- Now, execute the command below to unlock the bootloader on your Google Pixel 4 / Pixel 4 XL:
fastboot flashing unlock
- If in case, your device is showing you two options to select, then choose the ‘Unlock Bootloader’ option to confirm the action. [Use the Volume Down key to navigate and press the Power key to confirm]
- Your device data will be erased completely and it’ll automatically reboot into the system again. [It may take some time]
- Go through the initial setup process. Enjoy!
You’ve now successfully unlocked the bootloader on your Google Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL. Now, you’re free to customize your handset as per your preference. You can easily flash a custom recovery, custom firmware, enable root access, etc. However, if you want to re-lock the device bootloader, you can also do it at any time.
That’s it, guys. We assume this guide was helpful for you. For additional queries, you can comment below.